Faithfulness of God proven over 6,000 Years          

a series of 3 one hour sessions at the Copse 14/7/18

Hymn - 'Come Holy Ghost, our hearts inspire'

For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.  Ps 334
God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
      is faithful.
 1 Co 19
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
      they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
 Lam 322,23

These words are true, but great help if clothed with practical examples that
      reveal God's consistency, his loyalty, his unchanging truth, his faithfulness.

1. Faithfulness in Creation
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Gen 11
      Before the dawn of time Almighty God made a plan for creation
            that would conclude with a glorious, righteous and eternal kingdom.
      Our task is to trace God's faithfulness throughout his unchanging plan.
      It didn't stop at day 6; nor at the day of Christ having to be crucified,
            It continues today - In Gen 1there is no 'evening and morning for 7th day.
Creation began with time and whole vast universe;
      millions of stars each of which are galaxies like our 'Milky Way'!
In it he designed one unique solar system with a very special planet - earth!
Faithful to his single, perfect detailed plan; no surprises, no mods were needed.
Gen 1,2 tell us how he fashioned this earth and prepared it for man.
      In the beginning he created the universe (the heavens) and within it the earth.
      It was designed be a treasured expression of his power and huge genius.
What was so special?
      Gravity made > centrifugal force. Right spin speed and diameter.
      He designed a near circular orbit at exactly the right distance from the sun -
            temperature for liquid water, so most of it didn't boil or freeze.
      Speed of rotation so not too extreme day/night temperature) + tilt for seasons.
      Ionosphere (protects against UV + X-rays), Thick atmos (IR protection),
      Magnetic core (deflect cosmic rays - Aurora Borealis).
      Satellite Moon for tides.
      Molten core with cooling crust to produce continents and mountains.
      Jewels and heavy metals from cataclysmic collision of neutron stars!!
      All this God designed and executed with faithful precision - in the beginning

Day 1 - Light (Sun fusion starts).  Then separated from darkness.  Earth spins.
                  In God's plan at the end good and evil will also be separated for ever.
Day 2 - Water, oceans of it! (70% surface av. 12,000ft). And sky (heaven)
Day 3 - Land made higher than the water level. All the many 'kinds' of vegetation.
                  Each 'kind' bore seeds for it to multiply.
      Stage by faithful stage God was making earth ready for all that followed.
            Photosynthesis for O2 needed by fish, birds and animals -
                  also wood, coal and oil stored for future energy. God's battery!
Day 4 - Two great lights (already created 'in the beginning')
                  Here God reveals his purpose to also use them
                        as 'signs and for seasons, and for days and years'. Measuring time.
      When sufficient vegetation and O2 in the air and absorbed by the water.
Day 5 - God populates the sea with fish.
                  Then the land with insects and birds.
                  He tells them all to be fruitful and multiply.
Day 6 - Livestock and creeping things and beasts.
                  Finally when all was ready, God created man in his own image.
                  And he gave man responsibility for all he had created on earth.
Day 7 - God finished his work that he had done, and he rested ...
                        and made it holy.

Hymn - 'Great is thy faithfulness.'

Was each of creation's stages executed in 24 hours?
      Maybe; but I don't think so !!
      May I explain why?
            Definitely not because I want to change God's Word to fit science;
                  but because I do believe the truth of all the Word of God!!
Today God's creation is questioned by the lie of evolution, said to be 'Science'.
Do Science and Scripture Conflict?   No, I don't think so.
Many are frightened by the thought that a 'day' isn't always 24 hours in Gen 1.
      Understandably they fear the seeming contradiction with the English bible.
But in Hebrew the word for 'day' is 'Yom'.
In the Hebrew OT the expression 'The day of the Lord' occurs x20.  Is 212 136,9   etc
      This can be the instant of his coming or the age of his rule,
            i.e. the 'yom' can be an hour or 1000's of years or even all eternity!
There are 5 other indications why the 'long day' may be the way God chose,
      and also the way that Hebrew scripture tells it:
1. On the 1st day God created light and separated the light from the darkness.
      God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night
.  Gen 14,5
      But the 'Day' here (the 'yom') is only 12 hours, not 24 hours. (Earth spins)
2. On the 3rd day God separated the land and sea.
      As the earth cooled God chose a slow continental drift to form the Mts.
      He could have created the ~2,000 miles Atlantic instantly
            or in 24 hours at 80 mph! (Incidently it's still moving ~+2"/year)
      More likely God's plan of cooling and separation occurred over millennia.
3. Gen 24 (KJV + ESV) These are the generations of the heavens and the earth
      when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.

      'Generations' = 'towledah' in Heb. = time to bring to birth, gestation.
            Each generation was a distinct stage of preparation for the birth of man.
      Also 'in the day' (same Hebrew word 'yom') is not 24 hours, but 6 days/yoms.
            Note NIV omits this phrase to try to clarify the obvious contradiction.
4.Each day uses the expression And there was evening and there was morning.
      Why does evening come before morning. Two reasons:
      1. Light created after darkness. (Note: Jewish day starts in the evening)
      2. In gestation and metamorphosis the baby or the grub is created
      in the darkness of the womb or chrysalis. Then in the morning the birth and new life is revealed.
      This immense wonder naturally takes a 'yom' of >24 hours.
5. Perhaps the most convincing is that God made each 'kind' of the vegetation to have seeds to multiply.
      He told the fish, all living creatures and man to be 'fruitful and multiply'.  122, 28
      He obviously would not have given this instruction if they were each already 'multiplied'. (Adam and Eve one pair)
      Being obedient each generation (commonly years) would take many years,
      centuries to populate the world with oak trees or mackerel, not 24 hours.

Others examples of 'yom' >24 hours:
Gen 4725  So the days of Jacob, the years of his life, were 147 years.  (ESV)
                  So the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years.  (KJV)
Josh 247 And you lived in the wilderness a long time. (a long season - (KJV)
2Ch 153 For a long time Israel was without the true God.

So, far from denying the accuracy of Scripture, a long day enhances Scripture
      and the eternal truth of God's amazing design that he 'faithfully' kept to
      over the millennia of preparation for the pinnacle, his creation of man.
Science is not a threat to faith, nor is it the enemy of Scripture,
      Simply and consistently throughout the OT that Hebrew Yom not always 24 hrs
      To me this confirms the fact that all Scripture is true
            and God's faithfulness has never wavered - nor will it ever do so.

What is the best thing about creation?
      Diversity, variation, inter-dependancy, beauty, balance, cycles .....

2.  God's Faithfulness in Gen 3 to 11 - First 2,000 years

All through the Creation and the billions of years of exquisite careful growth,
      the faithfulness of God is seen. Even though God knew that when ready,
      and he finally created man, we would make a real mess of it.
Natural laws and life do not just come and go.
      All the physical laws that govern this earth, also govern the whole universe.
      Spiritual laws do not change either - not with time or culture.
      God warned Adam in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.  Gen 216,17
            And that day sin and death enter the equation of life. also  Ezek 338 Ro 623
From the beginning God's faithfulness is easily seen in all the good events.
      But is also seen in the consequences of sin; that Almighty God keeps his word.
      God was faithful in the punishment of Adam & Eve, Cain.  Gen 3,4
            Also with the wickedness in Noah's day, or Babel or Sodom.  Gen 6,11,19

How was God faithful to Abel?
By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain,
through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts.
And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.
 Heb 114
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  111
What did Abel hope for?  Forgiveness.
What was his conviction?   His sin, the righteousness of Jesus, and assurance in judgement.  Jn 168
      He knew and was assured of God's forgiveness.  No wonder he gave his best.
      His faith was entirely dependant upon the faithfulness of God.  As ours is too.

Enoch? Enoch walked with God for 300 years ...  Gen 522
      Every day of every year he proved God's faithfulness and friendship.

Methuselah? (= In the day that I die it shall happen). Died same year as flood!
      187 + 182 + 600 = 969 Gen 525,26 76 (God includes details for a reason)
Did the days of wickedness in Gen 6 end God's faithfulness? Never!
      Noah was to experience his faithfulness in a big way.
Did wickedness ever make God give up or abandon his plan for man? Never!!
Noah built the Ark exactly to spec' ! It saved him from drowning in the flood;
      but it was the Pitch = Atonement (Heb. 'Kippur') that saved his soul.  Gen 614
      The flood reveals God's faithfulness to always keeps his word.  Gen 67
            Yellowstone Park proves truth of God's Word.  Gen 711,12
After flood, his covenant of rainbow is never forgotten by the faithful God.
      While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat,
      summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.
 Gen 822
The rainbow should remind all men that Almighty God always keeps his Word.
Let us not be presumptuous of the days and the food that he gives us.
Note the judgement of world-wide wickedness will be by fire!  2 Pe 310

Hymn - 'Before the throne of God above'

God's Faithfulness in next 2,000 years

After seeing God's faithfulness in the Flood ~2350 BC,
      God didn't disappear, or have to adopt plan B,
      Or after Babel turn to plan C. If you think this, 'Your god is too small'
      Before creation he knew Adam would fall, and all men be naturally sinful.
      He always knew the end, the beginning and everyting in between!!
He knew the names of all you who believe in Christ -
      He even wrote them all down!  Eph 14  Rev 51-10
      He had a consistent plan of all the years of world history. No surprises!
      History is God unfolding this plan.
Briefly considered first 2,000 years, Adam to Babel (Gen 1-11)   Now next 2K.
Noah lived for nearly 300 years after flood.
      57 years before he died a man was born. A very special man.
      They may have been friends; Noah could have told him all about the flood.
      Who was this man? Almighty God chose him to begin rest of world history.
We are going to briefly trace God executing his faithful unchanging plan.

Not surprisingly God has revealed much detail about his plan.
Now the Lord said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house
to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation,
and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonours you I will curse,
and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
 Gen 121-3

Like Noah, Abraham obeyed. He left Ur and then Haran, and came to Canaan.
Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said,
      "To your offspring I will give this land."  Gen 127
Did God fulfill these words to Abraham? Yes, of course he did!
The next 2,000 years (and 918 OT chapters) are a witness to
      God's faithfulness and sadly also the inclination of all men to wickedness.
      They tell us how Almighty God revealed his unchanging plan for fallen man.
      They tell the history of how the Jews did become 'a great nation',
            and how they rejected God and twice had to be exiled.
            This is epitomised by Isaac's two sons Esau and Jacob.
                  Esau despised his birthright and sold it for a bowl of stew.  Gen 2529-34
                  Jacob the younger brother lied and cheated to gain what he had bought.
            God's verdict? "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."  Mal 12,3
      Jacob went down to Egypt, where they stayed for 400 years - as per  Gen 1513
            and God had to rescue them from slavery.
      After Joshua, Israel was governed by judges for 400 years - 7 good, 7 bad.
      But God's plan for salvation never changed; he remained faithful.

After David the kingdom divided:
      Israel had 300 years of 21 bad kings till finally exiled by Assyria in 722 BC
      Judah had 500 years of 18 bad kings and only 3 good.
      They were exiled to Babylon in 586 BC.
      Then as prophesied, God brought them back to the promised land.
Again and again God proves his faithfulness.
His plan of salvation was unchanged and intact in spite of man's sinfulness.
After another 500 years Jesus was born at precisely the ordained time.
      The Pharisees said they want to crucify, but not at Passover.  Math 265
      But Jesus was crucified at very same hour Passover lambs slain!  Is 53  Jn 129
      "It is finished!" Jesus exclaimed. The perfect sacrifice for sin was complete.
      But did this complete God's plan for our salvation?
            Certainly not. - next session.

Did Israel's repeated failure mean that God had to change his plan? Never.
      Before creation he knew Adam would fall,
            He knew full well how he would have to save us, but still created man.
            He knew that man's wickedness would mean he had to flood the earth,
                  (indeed he designed it that way - Yellowstone Park,  Gen 711)
            he knew all about the golden calf,
            he knew who would obey, and who wouldn't,
                  Just as today he knows all about Brexit, Trump, NATO and the Jews!
His plan has not, and never will be needed to be revised.
He remains faithful to his plan for the ultimate eternal Kingdom of God
His promised to bless the world through the Jews - and he certainly has.
      But vitally this promise did not end 2,000 years ago.

Poem  'Israel'   by Paula Worth.

When you were a child I loved you,
Tho' you turned your face from me,
Held my arms out while you stumbled,
Longed to teach you to walk free;
Watched in anguish while the nations
One by one declared you'd die
Without trace, not understanding
You're the apple of my eye.
Still I sent you as I'd promised
My Messiah, Holy Lamb,
O my heartache then, and sorrow
When you didn't see my plan.
Now I wait my bride to cherish,
These are days for other men
To find grace and my salvation,
Days to be fulfilled, and then,
Then with shouts of 'Grace' and 'Glory',
My Corner-stone now recognised,
I shall pluck you from the burning
And declare you justified.
Then the fountain which I opened
Still shall plead your cause to me;
And my child, beloved Israel
Bring me joy - Eternally.

Many Christians, if not most, seem to think the time for the Jews is finished.
It hasn't.
Paul clearly revealed this truth in  Ro 1125-29
Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers:
a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,
"The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob";
"and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins."
As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake.
But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers.
For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable."

      The hardening is 'partial'.  Today there are >50,000 Messianic Jews in Israel.
      It is only 'until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.'

God's faithfulness to both Jews and Gentiles will NEVER be broken.

3. Crucifixion completed atonement, but not salvation.

The whole Bible is about God's creation and his eternal plan of salvation.
The plan didn't end when Jesus was crucified.
The writer to the Hebrews reveals the next step:
But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin
by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,
so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people;
and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation
to those who are waiting for him.
 Heb 926-28

Christ has dealt with sin; he has paid the atonement price in full.
      But he has yet to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
      He has yet to establish his great, eternal, righteous kingdom where sin is no more.

What is the most significant revelation in Dan 1-6?
      The 'little rock cut out, but not by human hands' in Dan 2 = Kingdom of God.

Isaiah was also shown the glorious truth of the kingdom that God will establish:
      He recorded it in beautiful Hebrew poetry in Ch 35.
The desert and the parched land will be glad;
      the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendour of Carmel and Sharon;
      they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendour of our God.
Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way;
      say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come,
      he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you."
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.
And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness.
The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way;
      wicked fools will not go about on it.
No lion will be there, nor will any ferocious beast get up on it;
      they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord will return.
They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Step by gracious, faithful step, the Almighty reveals this glorious truth to us.
      This is the final part of the plan for his creation that we now eagerly await.
But how will he bring it to pass?
      For some it may be a surprise that he will continue his choice of the Jews!

Already read Gen 121-4 where God revealed his plan for Jews to bless the world.
They did so when Mary gave birth to the Saviour at the 1st Coming;
      and they will be the prime object of his 2nd Coming to Jerusalem.
More later; first we must see that God made another covenant with Abraham.
      It has very considerable significance for today's world, especially in the ME,
            and for all those who await the 2nd Coming of Christ.
On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying,
"To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates,
the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites,
the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites."
 Gen 1518-20
"And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you
throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant,
to be God to you and to your offspring after you.
And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan,
for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God."
 Gen 177,8

This land covenant is both unconditional and eternal. So it remains true today
God would often remind the patriarchs of it. See 'Bible Prophecies' x 46.
      Though clear, true and often repeated by God, this covenant is now contested.
The Almighty Creator can give any of all his creation to whom he desires.
      In fact Israel is only 1 / 25,000 of earth's real estate!
      But for 4,000 years hostile man has always challenged the Sovereign Lord.

In the last days God will save the Jews in their own land (not 'occupied territory')
      There, ruled by the 'King of kings', they will again bless the world.
Many in the church fail to appreciate this plan of God. Why?
      Unlike the persecuted, some are too deeply immersed in their present life
      Many only read parts of the Bible - the 'nice' easy parts!

We may read Daniel's prayer in first part of Dan 9,
      but what was God's answer - given by Gabriel? Put off by first two words?
"Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city,
to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity,
to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet,
and to anoint a most holy place."
 Dan 924
First sin had to be atoned for - that perfect sacrifice of Jesus is now complete,
      but next in God's plan was to bring in everlasting righteousness.
As with 1st Coming, Israel will play a most significant part in this.
It is wrong to think God has finished with the Jews - Church has now taken over.
Yes, the Jews did reject Christ and they paid a heavy price - 2,000 years exile.
But God is faithful. He will never break his eternal and unconditional covenant.

At a peak of their wickedness God commissioned the prophet Jeremiah.
For 40 years he had to prophesy that God was going to destroy Jerusalem.
Finally in 588 BC Nebuchadnezzar began an 18 month siege.
This fascinating and instructive story is told in Jer 32.
      Jeremiah had come from the village of Anathoth, ~2 miles NE of Jerusalem.
     One morning the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah telling him that his cousin
      was coming to say, "Buy my field at Anathoth, because as nearest relative
      it is your right and duty to buy it."

Jeremiah didn't often laugh, but this was the silliest thing he could do,
      with the Babylonian army encamped on the very field and their exile imminent.
Jeremiah didn't argue with God; he bought it. He had Barak duplicate the deed,
He had it officially signed, sealed in a clay jar and buried.   It is still there!
Of course he never took possession of it.  That wasn't why God told him to buy it.
For this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says:
'Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.' ...
Ah, Sovereign Lord, ... Nothing is too hard for you. ...
this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says:
I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath;
I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety.
They will be my people, and I will be their God.

In spite of their wickedness, God kept his covenant and this promise.
As promised, some 50 years later the Jews returned to Jerusalem in 536 BC.

When the Jews rejected Christ they were again exiled by the Romans in AD 70.
But this did not destroy God's eternal covenant with Abraham.
2,000 years later the Jews have again returned to their God-given land.
The only problem is that most people do not recognise Almighty God's authority;
      so there is conflict.

In Jer 31, where God reveals the new covenant, he says,
For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. ...
Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon
and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar -
the Lord of hosts is his name: "If this fixed order departs from before me, declares the Lord,
then shall the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever."
Thus says the Lord: "If the heavens above can be measured,
and the foundations of the earth below can be explored, then I will cast off
all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done, declares the Lord."
 Jer 3131-37

So even their demand for the Saviour to be crucified has not, and indeed cannot,
      break God's covenant with the chosen Jewish people.
Jesus will return to Jerusalem, not Canterbury, and certainly not Rome or Mecca.
Zechariah (519 BC) reveals the return of Jesus Christ to Jerusalem.  Zech 121-5
He reveals the day that Paul speaks of in Ro 11 when they repent.  Zech 1210,11a
And he reveals God's response of forgiveness.  Zech 131
Zech 141-9 also reveals the return of Jesus will be to Jerusalem
      and then he will establish the eternal, righteous Kingdom of God.

The world will be surprised!
1.It is Christ, the Faithful and True, the King of kings who returns.  Rev 1911,16
2.The timing of his return is unexpected.  Math 2436
3.The place of his return will do more than surprise the world!
4.The reason for his return (protect the Jews) will be staggering.  Zech 123

But, as always, the righteous will rejoice in the faithfulness of Almighty God.

Hymn - 'Be still my soul'